Le Strange but true

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A reader’s query about the Abbott Nash raced at Brooklands by C Le Strange Metcalfe from 1932 to 1934 has brought in a good response, especially from Steve Lovegrove, who is researching the days of the Great Auclum speed hillclimb. This seems worth sharing, as car and driver were well known.

Initially, Metcalfe had raced a 1923 Horstman with a two-port side-valve 15-litre Anzani engine, and a Frazer Nash front axle. When the scrutineers objected to the old car early in 1932, Metcalfe slotted the Anzani engine into a Frazer Nash chassis, probably ex-Plunkett-Green, centralised the steering, and had Abbott’s of Farnham make a neat fabric single-seater body, hence Abbott-Nash.

Pete Almack of A7 memory then acquired it, and much later Peter Neale found it and replaced the old Anzani engine with that popular resort of many Special builders, the commendable light-alloy 2-litre AC Six. To ginger things up Neale and his friend Crowther, after an unsuccessful Shelsley Walsh run, put in 9:1cr pistons and used three SU carbs and a lighter body, consigning the Abbott body to a VE-Day bonfire. It paid off notably, Neale making FTD at Great Auclum, with its slightly banked corner, faster than Fane and Aldington in BMW 328s.

War stopped play, Neale married, and in 1947 sold the car, which he had raced as the ACN, to Michael Christie.

Christie put on yet another body, modem-styled, and renamed the car the AC-Nash. A Laystall crankshaft to cope with a 10.5:1 cr, using alcohol fuel, was installed, plus a stronger back axle. Michael did well with the revised car until a huge crash at Stanmer Park damaged it. It seems then to have had a new owner in Leicester in 1949.

The car is now in the US.